Have book, will travel

Well, have book and the book will travel, anyway.

Here’s Threads – now Linhas – in the Livraria DaConde, Leblon, Rio de Janiero.

Only problem? The author was tucked up at home in Wandsworth, writing book 4. But as the photos here suggest, the locals had fun.

More in Sao Paolo in a couple of days. I’m thrilled that Intrinseca are giving the girls such a big welcome. There are more books in this picture than I imagined selling of Threads ever, to start with. How far my girls have come!

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Paper cuts

This is where I wrote most of Threads. It’s where I’m finishing book 4 now. I particularly like it because, deliberately or otherwise, it blocks all access to the internet from my laptop so I can’t get distracted by blogging and Google when I’m supposed to be writing.

It’s not the most attractive building in Wandsworth, although it’s slightly better on the inside. Inside, it is not silent or particularly peaceful. That’s because the librarians are always talking. Talking to people who want new library cards, or want to know how to find a particular book, or want to know what to read with their children, or how to use this Interweb thingy (while not allowing me access on my Mac – which as I say, helps – they provide about 8 computers which are in constant use, every hour of the day, by people who don’t have internet access at home).

Sometimes I shut out the noise with iTunes playlists. But sometimes I love it. All human life is here. Well, all human life that wants to better itself, find out information, connect with the younger generation, find a job, read a book, borrow a DVD, read the newspapers or just find some solace and company in an otherwise lonely world. As a writer, I find it fascinating and helpful. As a human being, I identify with it entirely.

In the coming couple of years, won’t everyone need more access to the internet, books, newspapers and a refuge? And if the Council has to close libraries, or limit their opening hours, should it do it in the most affluent areas, or  the most deprived? Should it listen to the voters who can shout the loudest, or the ones who are just about holding their heads above water?

My library is next to a couple of upmarket Fara charity shops. Perhaps, by next year, it will merely be an extension of them. I wonder how my education would have turned out if all the libraries my mother took me to when I was growing up had, instead, been selling second-hand buggies and old hats. I wonder how the families and singletons of York Gardens – in one of Wandsworth’s most deprived areas – will manage. Their library is scheduled for closure regardless of which option to reduce services the Council picks.

One decent bankers’ bonus would keep York Gardens library running for a year. Interesting thought. Funny old world.

Barry gets a gong

I’m not the only person who thinks Barry Cunningham is a rather wonderful children’s book publisher.

This week he collected his OBE from the Princess Royal at Buckingham Palace. Not a man to pass up an opportunity to dress up (he often mentions the puffin story and I’ve heard he’s appeared at parties as an elf, although I’ve yet to see it in the flesh), Barry looked pretty spiffing in his kilt, as I think you’ll agree:

Congratulations, Barry. Keep those new discoveries coming. And I know you wondered about it, but I hope you didn’t curtsey.